Posted in Creativity, DIY, Family Fun Activities

Family Fun Activity: Declaration Dinnerware

What are your dreams for your future? What do you want to do with your life? What legacy do you want to leave for your family / community?

It is important that we all understand what we want out of life. For years, we have been told about the benefits of thinking positive thoughts. We have been told by many famous life coaches and motivational speakers that we should create vision boards, set goals, and know what we want out of life. We have combed through magazines, the internet, and Pinterest boards in hopes of finding pictures and quotes that demonstrate the future we want for our lives.

What if you could see your “vision” in front of you daily without a vision board in the house?

I know this is a wild idea, but bear with me! Years ago, I participated in an exercise at a workshop that I really enjoyed and want to share with each of you.



Vision Boards Without the Board!

That’s right! I want to walk you through creating a vision board without a board!

I can safely assume that most of us eat and drink daily. Whether at work or home, in town or in the backyard, we all have to eat and drink at some point during the day! By creating our visions on dinnerware, we will have it in front of us every time we take a sip of our coffee or tea, each time we eat salad or a bowl of soup, and every time we dine with friends and family! What better way could there be to ensure your dreams are in front of you throughout the day?

The Dollar Tree Is Your Friend!

By going to your local Dollar Tree or $.99 store, you can pick up plain white ceramic mugs, bowls, and plates for less than the cost of Sharpies! The most expensive part of this craft is the package of Sharpies, but you can use them after the craft for other fun ideas found here at The Essential Creative or throughout the internet!

Make It A Party!

Invite friends and family and have a Declaration Party! Each person can bring their own cups and plates, or you can provide them. The key is to have fun. This is a project you can do with strangers at church, colleagues, or close friends and family. Everyone is bound to have fun.

Have Fun!

Have friends who don’t draw (or perhaps you don’t)? DON’T WORRY! You can write words that describe your vision. Not everyone is an artist, so remember the point is to have fun not to be perfect. Let your imagination run wild, enjoy yourself. and make stick figures or write words if you can’t draw what you see in your mind! The point is to get it out on the dinnerware so you can see it in front of you!


Even the kids have fun with these. Here’s one my daughter did when she was five years old.

Let’s Get to the Directions!

Items Required

  • Ceramic White, Cup, Bowl, Select any size you use frequently.
  • Sharpie Markers, I recommend the big pack!
  • Great imagination and dreams!

Craft Timing

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Depends upon size of your oven and dinnerware.

Declaring Your Future!

  1. Wipe your plate, bowl, and/or mug with a cleaning wipe or damp cloth and then dry thoroughly!
  2. Sit down in a quiet location. Feel free to turn on some background music to set the mood.
  3. Reflect upon your future and what you want it to look like. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do for a career? Who do you want to help? How do you want to look? What metaphors do you see for your life? What do you feel God calling you to do? Who do you see yourself surrounded by daily? Think of anything that you would like to see as part of your future – it can be life goals, bucket list items, or visions for your future impacting your community and world.
  4. After you know what you want to draw or write on your cup, go for it! Pick up a Sharpie and start drawing or writing! See the examples below of how others have created declarations for their future!
  5. Once you have created your dinnerware, set it in the oven. Turn the oven to 360 and let it heat up. Once it heats up, turn the over off without removing the dinnerware.
  6. Repeat the heat up and cool off process one more time.
  7. Remove your items from the oven and smile wide – your future is now available for all to see daily!


Posted in Creativity, DIY, Gifts

Creative Gift Idea #8: Spa Kit for Mom

I’m back with another idea on how you can bless a friend or loved one this holiday season (though the gift ideas work all year round). Have fun and enjoy the process of creating something from your heart not just purchasing a gift with your wallet.

This is a perfect gift for mom or any other spa lover in your life! My daughters get the credit for this idea, as this is what they purchased for me this year for my birthday after seeing how happy I was when I won a prize from my friend Priscilla, who was doing a giveaway. The prize included a handlettered card and five face masks. I was so excited about winning that my daughters thought it would be a really nice gift for my birthday. I agreed with them!


What You Will Need

  • 3-5 Face masks
  • 1 nail brush set
  • 1 nail polish
  • 1 body lotion
  • 1 small basket

We purchased all items at the Dollar Store other than 3 face masks that we purchased from Wal-Mart. All items were $1.00 each. You can find the face masks in the beauty section at most Wal-Marts in a nice set up at the end of the aisle.

What You Will Do

Place the items neatly in the basket. If you have to, open up the brush kit.


Feel free to add or substitute items based upon what you know your mom or friend

Posted in Creativity, DIY, Parenting

Family Fun Activity: Nature Art

When my daughter was younger, I had to have Birth to Three come out because she didn’t walk or talk at a year and a half. She was behind and I was concerned. Gloria, our educator, would come out each week and share some ideas with me of things we could do. As a former preschool teacher at a daycare center and mother of a 15 year old as well as my little one, as Gloria would share ideas, things would come back to me and we would have a LOT of fun creating as she began to move around.

Why do I share this with you?

Sometimes, what I share with you won’t be novel ideas that you’ve never heard of. They will be timeliness classics, things we did as kids and forgot about (think: paper bag monsters!!), and things with a new spin. I am trying to share ways to create a fun and creative environment for your families and you in which we all reach our new levels of creative expression. For some of us, that means going back to the basics. For others, it means trying old goodies and recreating them with new ideas.

Today is an oldie but goodie: Nature Art! This activity is fun for the whole family if you allow yourself to just enjoy the moment. For that reason, I suggest diffusing some Present Time and letting the family go wild…well, kind of.

Nature Art

Remember to get lots of pictures for the scrapbook! It’s a lost art today and will help your kids remember their childhood fun!

Looking for something fun to do with your preschooler? Inspire creativity, teach your child about the glorious beauty within the world around him / her by getting into your local woods, and have fun releasing your inner child by creating Nature Art with your child. This fun activity will not only help your child release their creative energy but will allow you to create a memory that will last a lifetime (or until the paper turns into ash).

If you don’t live close enough to a State Park, you can take you child in the backyard, to a local beach, or anywhere that he / she can find items that would be fun to paint with on the paper. Our family has sometimes donned gloves and used beach cleanup items such as plastic cups, rubber bands, magazine pages, toys, and fishing line to create our masterpieces. As long as you have fun (while being safe as well), you can find items for this project anywhere.


Gather the supplies and your kids, and then have fun!

Step One: Gather Required Non-Nature Materials

  • Paint
  • Paint brush (optional)
  • Giant white art paper
  • Cup of water
  • OPTIONAL: Mod Podge or Acrylic Paint (for adhering large objects to paper)


Step Two: Take a Hike

After you have assembled the required home materials, it is time to go have some fun. Take your child to a local State Park or hiking area and enjoy a half hour or hour searching for fun items that your child can use to paint or can glue to his / her paper. Let your child lead the walk. Have her walk a few steps ahead of you, showing you where all the great items are. A few guidelines we keep in our family:

  • Do not disturb nature. No picking leaves off trees, killing small insects, removing flowers from stems, etc. Only remove items that are already fallen, dead, or on the path.
  • Bring a plastic bag and collect trash with gloved hands while your child finds her / his items. Your family will cover two tasks: having fun and helping the environment.
  • Only pick five of the same item so you have diversity in your paining. Unless your child can state why he / she needs more for his / her nature art, there is no reason to remove more from its current home. I stress that someone else may want to use those for art.
  • Have fun. Be creative. Nothing is unacceptable except living things.



Nature walking at your local State Park or hiking area is a great opportunity to get items for your nature art. As seen above, your child will feel they have so much to find…they may want to take it all home! If you can’t get the local State Park due to time, the backyard can offer a world of fun as well!


Step Three: Review Your Child’s Treasures

Leaves, rubber bands, a lip-shaped kazoo, rocks, dead grass, flowers someone left behind, weeds, and toilet paper wrappers were the great treasures found along the local Bluff this happy Saturday morning.

Let your child dump his / her treasures on the table. What did she pick up? What did he find beautiful or think would be fun to use as a paintbrush? Have fun going through the items and talking about why each item is “cool” or “fun” for this project. Remember to congratulate your child on his / her creativity or practicality in choosing items.

Step Four: Get to Painting

This is the second best part of the activity. Now that you have walked and seen the beauty in nature, you have a chance to show your child how she / he can create art as well. Break open the paint and tell your child to go at it. Here are some suggestions for your child to try:

  • Use the rocks as paintbrushes by dipping them in the paint and smearing it on the paper – or glue them to page with some Mod Podge or acrylic paint.
  • Cover a leaf in paint and then turn it around and press it down on the paper.
  • Place a think layer of Mod Podge along the bottom of the paper, lay grass or sand down, pour paint over it or use paint brush to flick paint on it to create an abstract look.
  • Dip the end of toilet paper roll in paint and press down on paper.
  • Paint with a blade of grass, a leaf, or a flower.
  • Layer various objects and then cover them in paint to create a 3-D effect.


Step Five: Admire Your Child’s Work

This is the part where you esteem your child and tell them how amazing they are at this wonderful form of art. If you have a frame, go ahead and find a place for it in your home. We used to have a wall in our living room that was all child’s art and then in my daughter’s room, she had a clothesline with her favorite art activities hung up with clothespins. When it got full, we moved the newly unwanted ones into a memory tote (just a Rubbermaid tote that holds all her artwork from over the years) and hung up the new art.


Posted in DIY, Gifts

Creative Gift #7: Epsom Salts Room Freshener


Have you been looking for an inexpensive but creative gift for the people on your list? Try this Epsom Salts Room Freshener. This is great for clients and people on your list who you want to give a gift to but don’t know what to get them or can’t get them a gift over a certain amount. They work especially well in office cubicles, small rooms, bathrooms, dorms, and dining rooms.

What You Will Need

  • Epsom Salts
  • Essential Oils – 2 or 3 of your favorites
  • Spoon
  • Funnel (for pouring salts into container)
  • Container (we prefer Mason Jars but you can use any container)

What You Will Do

  • Pour Epsom Salts into the Container
  • Mix in 10 – 15 drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Stir well to mix up the scents
  • Put cover onto jar and poke holes into it so the scent can come out in small doses (as you can see in picture below, we tend to take our cover off when we want to smell more of the oils)
  • If you would like, decorate the jar and lid.

Note, I mix the salts up each week, to ensure it is at its strongest at the beginning of each week. They typically last several months in our home with the amount of oil we put in them.



Suggested Essential Oil Mixes

Rise and Shine Blend

Great for the bathroom or living room.

  • 5 drops Orange
  • 5 drops Lemon
  • 5 drops Peppermint
  • 5 drop Grapefruit

Study Blend

Great for the bedroom. Don’t poke holes in this lid. Instead, give it as a gift with an instruction card to set it on their desk when working or studying.

  • 10 Drops Rosemary
  • 10 Drops Sage
  • 10 Drops Peppermint

Clear Air Blend

Great for dining rooms and bathrooms.

  • 20 drops Purification
  • 10 drops Lemon

Outdoor Fresh

Great for bedrooms or living rooms.

  • 20 drops Sacred Mountain
  • 10 drops of Rosemary